Gee Whillickers!

Explosive Cereal!

Artwork from Kellogg’s first ad, placed in 1906, and an early package.

W.K. Kellogg was a pioneer in the art of advertising. He decided from the get-go to stake everything on advertising and spent much of his new company‚Äôs working capital just to buy a full-page ad in the July 1906 issue of the Ladies Home Journal. Drum roll, please. B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r… The results were astonishing. By the end of the first year, Kellogg had shipped out almost 180,000 cases of corn flakes and grocers were lining up to carry his product.

How did he do it? His first ad began, “This announcement violates all the rules of good advertising.” He couldn’t ask readers to buy his product because most grocers didn’t carry it. Instead, he gave out coupons for free samples and then asked housewives to urge their grocers to stock Kellogg’s corn flakes so that the coupons could be redeemed. An idea that was as brilliant as it was effective.


CC or BCC? That is the question.

The term cc, used today in all types of correspondence, especially e-mail, signifies an additional recipient. It’s an acronym that stands for “carbon copy,” or “courtesy copy” for those too young to have had any experience with the not-so-timeless invention known as carbon paper. It was originally used to indicate that a carbon copy of the original typed document was supplied to additional recipients.

Bcc is a term meaning a blind carbon copy of a physical message or e-mail, and instructs that an additional hidden copy is to be sent to another recipient without the primary recipient knowing.

[Note: when sending mass mailings, bcc is the option to use. Otherwise, not only will some of your recipients receive a huge block of e-mail addresses in front of your message, but these poor addresses may fall prey to those few who have the nasty habit of saving them for later mass mailings about the purchase of extra kittens and other such dire late-breaking news.]

Gee Whillickers!

Who actually invented italics anyway?

First italic typeface, an Aldus Manutius/Griffo co-production. Notice that the initial typeface didn’t have any capital characters.

The father of italics is Aldus Manutius (1449-1515), a remarkable man, famous mostly as a printer and a publisher. His typefaces were all designed by the brilliant Francesco Griffo, and this was no exception. You see, italics began as a typeface before it became a type style that could be applied to other typefaces as it is today.

The style, as anyone might have guessed, is based on handwriting, though history isn’t clear on exactly whose penmanship inspired the style. So, in 1501, their italic typeface made its maiden voyage and flowed gracefully across the pages of an edition of Virgil (see picture).

Aldus began printing great works of Greek, Latin, and Italian literature that had wide appeal for their affordable price. These works were printed in italic type and the type itself was actually known early on as the Aldine.